Kale is a cruciferous vegetable in the same family as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, and it is a quite nutritional powerhouse. It is a dark leafy green rich in vitamins A, C, K, carotenoids, flavonoids and fiber. While it is great when cooked, raw kale can also be good, though there are something about raw kale to know before you enjoy it.
Can You Eat Raw Kale?
Raw kale and other cruciferous vegetables, such as collard greens, cabbage and turnips, contain isothiocyanates, a compound that can block the thyroid enzyme TPO which is responsible for attaching iodine to thyroid hormones to make them active in the body. By blocking the iodine that your body needs, it causes the thyroid to get bigger because the cells overgrow, creating a goiter. The compounds in kale that cause this enlarging of the thyroid are called goitrogens, and only exit while in raw state. If they are cooked or lightly steamed, this enzyme blocking is no longer a problem. But does this mean that you cannot eat kale or other cruciferous vegetables raw? No, eating raw cruciferous vegetables with one or two meals is fine as long as you have gotten enough iodine in the diet.